Friday, August 18, 2017

Movie Review: Colossal (2017)

Colossal (2017) - Written and Directed by Nacho Vigalondo; Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Austen Stowell, Dan Stevens.

By Kenny Howell

It's that same old story, a woman gets dumped by her boyfriend, a monster attacks Seoul, South Korea, and the woman finds out she controls that monster when she walks into a city park halfway around the world at 8:05 a.m.

Nacho Vigalondo's latest is original to say the least. And while that makes it worth taking the time, I am not sure it really knows what to do with that original idea.

Anne Hathaway (The Intern) plays that dumped woman, Gloria, who after being told to leave her boyfriend's apartment, she heads back to her hometown to figure stuff out. She is a mess, no job, no prospects, and she disappears into a family home that stands empty.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Now on Netflix: The Outcasts (2017)

The Outcasts (2017) - Directed by Peter Hutchings; Written by Dominique Ferrari, Suzanne Wrubel; Starring Eden Sher, Victoria Justice, Ashley Rickards, Ted McGinley, Avan Jogia, Frank Whaley, Claudia Lee.

By Kenny Howell

If there was a highlight reel of every teen nerd vs. popular kid movie, it would be The Outcasts.

Victoria Justice and Eden Sher play Jodi and Mindy, nerd best friends in high school that try to recruit all the other outcasts of high school to fight back against a bunch of mean girls, led by super bitch Whitney (Claudia Lee).

But their plan runs into some snags like Jodi falls for one of the popular boys Dave (he thinks David Bowie made weird cool and listens to Carol King!), and power goes to Mindy's head as the stress of whether she gets into MIT hangs over her head.

Now on Netflix: The Saint (2017)

The Saint (2017) - Directed by Simon West; Written by Jesse Alexander; Starring Adam Raymer, Eliza Dushku, Roger Moore, James Remar, Greg Grunberg.

By Kenny Howell

What do you do with a failed TV pilot that no one wanted?

Well, you shoot more footage and turn it into a feature length film of course.

That has been the life of The Saint, a rebooting of the famous character played by Roger Moore and Val Kilmer, among others, over the years. It originally started filming in 2012, was not ordered to a series in 2013, had more footage shot in 2015, and is finally on Netflix in 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Now on Hulu: Billy on the Street, Season 5 (2017)

Billy on the Street (2017) - Created and Starring Billy Eichner

By Kenny Howell

I can't stand yelling.

If I hear someone yelling at someone, it just makes me so unbelievably uncomfortable, that I just want to get away.

But there is something about the way that Billy Eichner does it, that it has become one of my favorite things. I have now watched five seasons of his show Billy on the Street, and have not tired of it one bit. It is the same old shtick, but still really funny, because Eichner is so good, so fearless on the streets of New York trying to rile people up are just scare them for no reason.

In Season 5, you can tell it is becoming a bit more difficult to do the show. Eichner has other things going on, he is little bit more well known, and there is just a little sense that maybe he is a bit passed it all. That's not to say he still doesn't throw himself head first into it, you can tell he still gets quite a bit of joy out of it. And he continues to bring bigger celebrities onto the show. In Season 5, there is Jon Hamm, Seth Rogen, Lupita Nyong'o, Aziz Ansari, Jacob Tremblay, John Oliver, James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key and Stephen Colbert. That's in addition to the occasional old segment he tags on the end, like one with Tina Fey where she has to say if it is a woman or man who did certain monumental achievements (the answers are all men).

Now on Netflix: My Ex-Ex (2017)

My Ex-Ex (2017) - Directed by Nathaniel Warsh; Written by Andre Bharti; Starring Katherine Barrell, Andre Bharti, Ray Galletti.

By Kenny Howell

Late in the Canadian raunchy comedy My Ex-Ex, just before some characters are going to try to pull off their big moment, one of the guys says something to the effect that something like this only happens in shitty movies.

I don't know if it was meant to be a self-aware joke, but it ends up really telling you something about the movie.

It really wants to be a Seth Rogen-Judd Apatow type raunchy comedy, but it doesn't have Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill or Danny McBride. It also isn't clever. The best part about it is the star of the film, Katherine Barrell, who plays the woman that is stuck between her ex and her ex-ex. But even her character by the end becomes hard to pull for because she makes such a stupid decision about halfway through.

Now on Netflix: Banking on Bitcoin (2016)

Banking on Bitcoin (2016) - Directed by Christopher Cannucciari; Written by Christopher Cannucciari, Prichard Smith.

By Kenny Howell

The rise and subsequent fall of Bitcoin is examined in this new documentary now on Netflix.

Bitcoin is an online currency created by a mysterious programmer that would allow for people all over the world to exchange currency freely. The idea was to create something outside the modern banking industry which had become horribly corrupt, and give the power of currency back to the people making the exchanges.

Of course, things got co-opted by illegal stuff, like the creation of the Silk Road, which many people used to sell drugs all over the world in an untraceable environment. The creator of it was revealed to be Ross William Ulbricht, who was arrested and convicted, then sentenced to life in prison. That of course, tainted the image of Bitcoin, and it has been in a freefall ever since.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Now on Netflix: Hot Property (2017)

Hot Property (2017) - Directed by Max McGill; Written by Andrew Cryan, Max McGill; Starring MyAnna Buring, Tom Rhys Harries, Kate Bracken.

By Kenny Howell

A recently laid off woman tries everything to try to keep her flat in an aggressive London housing market in this go for broke comedy.

Melody (MyAnna Buring) is a corporate spy who gets canned one day, leaving her bank account near empty very quickly. She has a stellar flat in an up and coming area of London, and she is afraid that someone will come in and take it. A real estate group called The Charlatans are ready to make a move fast, so Melody has to come up with something. So she surveys all her options, even considering selling an organ and becoming an escort.

Director Max McGill uses this construct to skewer much more than the London housing market, and that is probably where it falls flat. It becomes stretched so thin because it is so heavy handed on everything it wants to go after. Melody's boyfriend is an an aspiring chef with a high concept/terrible food, some of which is making some kind of statement on nazism, that I think it supposed to be funny, but it is not. Much of the film is not funny as well, which is troubling for a comedy. It just tries too hard, and if it wasn't that the cast, specifically Buring, was quite good, this would be nearly unwatchable.

Hot Property is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: *